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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Troubleshooting help
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Old 09-18-2011, 01:28 PM   #21
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picture of the breaker: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink

The documentation that came with the breaker calls out the 120/240 like you pointed out PJ. That doesn't make sense at all if it can't we wired up for that.

At this point I'm probably just looking to replace the breaker with a 50A version since the bulk of the work is already done to go this route. It won't impact me initially but if I do start double batching I'll have watch out for this.

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Old 09-18-2011, 02:51 PM   #22
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Take a look at this link > Spa Panel from Home Depot. It is a 50A GFCI panel that is failry cheap. You can set it up this way:



Also in reference to your concern about using a 50A breaker. I don't think it will be a problem for your rig. You would draw 46A using 2 5500W elements. There is enough margin left for 2 pumps and your PID controllers.

If by chance it gives you some issues, just change the HLT element out to a 5000W element:
Rheem SP10869NL 240V 5000W Stainless Steel Element.
That would give you a very good margin.

I hope this is of some help.

P-J

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Old 09-18-2011, 05:30 PM   #23
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Not a good idea to operate near the trip point on the breaker, better to be operating at 80% maximum rating on a continuous basis because of heating inside breaker and enclosure. Here is a link to a page describing why that is standard practice http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_sizing_circuit_breaker/.

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Old 09-18-2011, 08:32 PM   #24
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Thanks for all the input guys. Like I mentioned earlier I'll probably go with the 50A to save any more time & effort. It will be more than sufficient for the time being and in the worst case scenario it'll just take me a little longer to crank out two batches running one element at a time. Once I get this setup working and the pipeline filled, I'll revisit the issue.

Thanks again!

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Old 09-19-2011, 09:38 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kladue View Post
Not a good idea to operate near the trip point on the breaker, better to be operating at 80% maximum rating on a continuous basis because of heating inside breaker and enclosure. Here is a link to a page describing why that is standard practice http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_sizing_circuit_breaker/.
I firmly believe this is a piece of information that is severely distorted in many ways. The link posted quotes the supposed NEC info that does not exist in the current NEC code. The post you quoted was from 1996 and it in now 2011 with many code changes in between.

Another thought: The 80% rule, often quoted, applies to multi drop outlet circuits. It does NOT apply to a single drop outlet, i.e. a single circuit outlet for a dryer, range or some other single outlet receptacle. With a single outlet circuit, the current draw can be at or near the limit of the breaker without issue, standard breaker or GFCI. Also, the 80% rule in the code applies to the architect, builder and the electrician ......it does not apply to the home owner using his home. It is a design and build issue.

You would expect an "electrician" to know their stuff, but, a lot of them do not. Info is frequently pulled out of their - - never mind.

BTW, do you have the current NEC code manual?

You want to learn more? Do a check up on Arc Fault Breakers. Or, for that matter, check on today's code for GFCI circuits and where they must be implemented. Things have changed dramatically - but - a lot of them do not apply unless the facility has been wired since the particular code change was implemented.

For example: You have a home that was wired in 1938. Is knob and tube wiring in it ok today?

Rant over - I'm done.
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:35 AM   #26
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The NEC advice has been around a long time, that was the first example that popped up in a google search. As to whether I have the NEC code book, I have the 2008 and am waiting for the 2011 version to arrive as it is needed to review installations by the electrical contractors, and panel construction in the industrial process control system installation business that I do.

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Old 09-20-2011, 08:10 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P-J View Post
Something is really wrong here. If it were a 240V only GFCI breaker, it would not have the white neutrel wire as part of the assembly.
It's possible that the electronics used for the GFCI within the breaker operate on 120V, so the neutral pigtail is possibly just feeding the GFCI sense/trip stuff.

It's still weird though.
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:12 AM   #28
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Quote:
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It's possible that the electronics used for the GFCI within the breaker operate on 120V, so the neutral pigtail is possibly just feeding the GFCI sense/trip stuff.

It's still weird though.
Ah Ha.! Bingo!! It is there to provide the leakage path to allow the 'test' button to operate.

What is really bad is that most every site where I find that breaker states that it is a 120/240V breaker. It is not.!
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:48 PM   #29
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Default It works!

I switched it out with the 3 wire 50A breaker and the control panel works perfectly. Of all the wiring in that control panel, I never figured my problem would be the breaker. Definitely, learned a lot with this build. Off to tune my PIDs and get ready for the maiden brew!

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Old 12-29-2011, 06:53 PM   #30
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Just wanted to quickly add to this discussion. My setup is a Kal-inspired control panel (though customized/simplified), and I had installed a Square D 30A 240V double pole GFCI breaker (QO230GFI). I was having essentially the exact same problem: flipping the power switch and sending any current through the box would result in an immediate breaker trip. Turns out I didn't look closely at the breaker itself when I installed it... like the other breakers in my panel, I wired the neutral lead coming from the dryer outlet to the breaker panel bus... not the GFCI breaker itself! I have successfully installed 120V GFCI breakers before, but obviously I forgot this crucial detail. I thought I had done my research, but it pays to read the installation guide...

So, prost to the HBT forums for restoring my sanity, and let this serve as a cautionary/educational tale for others getting started on the journey of electric brewing! I must have gone over all the connections in my panel ten times and couldn't figure out the problem... turns out it wasn't the panel to begin with!

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